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She struggles to breathe, coughing and sputtering for air. Despite the fact that she is choking, her main concern is elsewhere. She is fighting for a different cause. She extends a fragile arm and claws her way through the dust, shoving pounds of dirt out of her way. Her tired feet drag behind her. One arm swings over her head and then the other. Slowly, relentlessly she shovels the earth away from her face and body. For hours she digs in this manner. She is oblivious to the distant sounds of traffic, children playing, air conditioners humming like the steady beat of her heart. She feels the sun kiss the top of her head and she smiles. She stops to rest, wiping the sweat out of her eyes. In that moment, the hole that she has been emptying for hours begins to fill again, the unforgiving soil closing in around her. All strength depleted, she sinks to the bottom. Earth’s latest mood swing has claimed her immobile- for now. She patiently waits, knowing change will come in time. Her body relaxes and her breathing slows to a steady, gentle rhythm.
Suddenly the ground moves beneath her and the walls tremble as if convulsing. She crawls to her knees and shoves forward. With new resolve she continues on, determined to reclaim her freedom. The stench of her own filth assaults her senses and she retches. How long has it been since she had a thorough cleansing? Spurred on by her need for a bar of soap, she uses the entire weight of her body to push herself out of the pit. She flops over onto her back and closes her eyes, heaving a heavy, contented sigh.
A gentle rain begins to cover her like an old blanket. She drinks in the sound of the drops softly pattering on her nose, eyelids, and mouth. She parts her lips and allows the water to trickle down her parched throat, grateful for its healing. She pulls herself upright and watches the rain wash away all the layers of dirt and grime. The drops come faster and heavier and with renewed energy she stands to her feet. She glances at her hands, scratched and bruised from fighting but finally clean. She raises them to the sky and laughs.
Resilient glances down at the saturated ground and notices her bag of cares for the first time. Like bits of broken glass, they are strewn haphazardly around the hole she just emerged from. She picks one up and examines it, as if seeing it for the first time. She retrieves the items, softly stuffing them back into their tired container. “Father should have these. He’ll know what to do with them.” With one last backward glance at her soil prison she begins her trek homeward. As the gentle rain continues to caress her skin she walks with fresh determination. The sun shines on the distant horizon and she knows. Her brother is expecting her home for dinner and she cannot be late…
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This short story grabbed me. I thought about the hidden meanings. I reread the story again. I liked many of your descriptive words and phrases. I liked the contrast of the dark side and the light side. Different angles of humanity.